Gerard Pique believes that Jose Mourinho forced Pep Guardiola to leave Barcelona during his time at the helm of La Liga rivals Real Madrid.

Guardiola won the Champions League twice, three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and two FIFA Club World Cups during his time as Barca manager. However, in 2012 he would leave the Spanish before taking over at Bayern Munich the following year.

Guardiola forged a fierce rivalry with then-Real Madrid boss Mourinho when the pair were both plying their trade in La Liga. And according to Pique, it was this rivalry which led to Pep leaving the Spanish top flight.

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Speaking on Gary Neville’s Overlap podcast, the Spanish defender said: “We were winning everything at the time and I remember that the first time Mourinho came to Camp Nou he lost 5-0 against us. It was a shock of reality that these guys are going hard, but in the press conferences every time he was – you know his style – and I think that for Guardiola at some point it was too much.

“It was more important sometimes what happened off the pitch than on the pitch. Guardiola left.

“Madrid won the league that year and all of a sudden he decided to leave for so many reasons, but I am sure part of it was because with Mourinho it got too much.” Guardiola went on to enjoy a successful period at Bayern before moving to City.

As for Mourinho and Pep’s rivalry, that would later rekindle in the Premier League. However, it was paused once more when the Portuguese coach moved to Roma last summer.

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